'Industrial Design is a hard way to make money. '
That was the impression a guest speaker gave to people on my Product Design for Manufacture BSc course along with our friends on the sister-course, Industrial Design BA (or 'Magic Marker Pen Fairies' as our lecturer called them). The guest speaker emphasised the long hours and stress involved in chasing deadlines. He really didn't make it sound like fun.
By contrast, another guest speaker outlined his career path after leaving an Industrial Design course. He spent some time on the dole, and then started making 'secret boxes' (small wooden curiosities that can only be opened if you know the knack, due to internal mechanisms like weights or magnets). Somehow that lead to working as a model maker for television advertisements... the Alien Flying Saucer in a lager advertisement was one of his creations.
At least, as courses go, the range of skills we were exposed to- workshop tools such as lathes and milling machines, spray booths, setting dual-booting Win98 and NT in order to use a certain CAD package and USB peripherals, drafting, hand rendering, UI mockups on Visual Basic, engineering concepts, material selection, marketing, project management, environmental awareness (Product Lifecycle Management), manufacturing process selection, mould design... - was varied. There is an element of 'jack of all trades, master of none', but mastery can come after graduation, through employment, messing around or perhaps by taking a Masters in a more specialised area.